Author of Rebekah Orders Lasagna (Woodley 2006), two prize-winning chapbooks and two long-poem monographs, John Jenkinson earned his PhD at the University of North Texas under the direction of Bruce Bond, and his MFA at Wichita State University under the direction of Albert Goldbarth; he recently served as Milton Center Fellow in Poetry at Newman University. John’s poetry has won an AWP Intro/Journals Award, the Ellipses Award, the New Voice Award, several state and regional awards, been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, and may be read in a wide variety of journals (from The Mennonite to Slipstream), including, among many others, American Literary Review, The Georgia Review, Green Mountains Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, Raintown Review, and Windhover. Married to fiction writer Catherine Dryden, he teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Butler College, where he founded and directs the “Oil Hill Reading Series,” and advises the Chess Society. Additionally, John has taken up songwriting. He was born in Independence, Kansas, proud home of William Inge, playwright, and Abel, the first monkey in outer space.
Included below is one selected work by the visiting writer.
South of Red-Wing
I wake up on the wrong side of the equinox,
geese in isosceles stitches
trace a path down the world's face, stop
to ravish the harvest's sun-dried trash
piled in furrows and hedgerows.
A clatter of crows pleats the air
with black derision, brushes a red-wing
off the taut wire of her discretion.
Summer's long truce boken, the mice
have returned to the catfood, gnawed
dank passage to that heavy yellow sack,
peppered our floor with their delicate scat.
This bounty of need, feeling
the leaves crack as the cat stalks
his own red meal, whiskers his way
through the crisp buffalo grass.
Something has burrowed into the half-assed
pumpkin patch—skunk, badger,
another hair-shirt mendicant
telling her beads along the food chain,
clicking the beetles' lacquer-thin shells,
snapping brittle seed-hulls
in her frowsty cell, far from the sun's ache,
taking no thought for the morrow.
Thin fires kiss the evenings now
beneath the railway trestle; and the men
with cardboard signs, tolling the highways
in denim and flannel, all drift south.
(First published in his book Rebekah Orders Lasagna by Woodley Press in 2006).